It’s unexpected but job growth continues in our region this year even during the pandemic. It’s incredible to watch the interest from companies in a variety of job sectors investing in Jacksonville.
We’ve already added more than 2,400 jobs and more than $850 million in capital investment in 2020. More than 67 percent of those expansions have been added since the economic shutdown caused by COVID.
These jobs run the gamut — from high-end health care jobs to the latest Amazon expansion. These jobs help place food on the table for all of our community.
There’s opportunity for everyone in Jacksonville.
We focus our efforts on projects we know we can compete for and win. The region’s five target industries are advanced manufacturing, financial services, health and biomedical, advanced transportation and logistics and IT and innovation.
Jacksonville has expanded in each of these industries in 2020.
Made In Space relocated from Silicon Valley and announced plans to employ 80 people and invest $3 million in advanced manufacturing.
In financial services, Cantor Fitzgerald brought 80 jobs here in May, and NewRez LLC expanded to add 100 jobs in August.
Homegrown health care tech company Forcura announced that it would open a new corporate headquarters and add 115 jobs in Jacksonville.
Wayfair expanded its regional footprint in transportation and logistics, committing to 600 new jobs.
Synergy Technologies announced it would bring 300 information technology jobs to the region.
Our location continues to be one of our greatest strengths as companies like Wayfair have chosen Jacksonville as their Southeastern hub, and many more will follow.
When Flying W Plastics started looking for their second manufacturing location, they met with officials from the city and JAXUSA Partnership and realized immediately that this region was the perfect location for expansion.
Lowe’s, Collins Aerospace and Eagle LNG have all announced major expansions in 2020. We’re working to add even more and expect more big announcements by the end of the year.
We have the same strengths we’ve always had — quality of life, cost of living and water — and we’re continuing to press those outside of the region. We have the westernmost port on the East Coast, access to rail and major interstates.
The talent of our workforce is second to none. Our partnerships with colleges and universities continue to help drive our growth.
Through the pandemic, we’ve continued to work with companies looking to invest in Jacksonville. Companies see all of our advantages and realize they want to be part of the incredible story we have to tell.
Due to the pandemic and economic shutdown, communities are facing job losses, but the Jacksonville metropolitan area has fared better than most. Our region has the lowest unemployment rate of all the major metro areas in the state.
We love the fact that Jacksonville is economically diverse and that our foundation is so strong. Cities we compete with don’t have the wide range of sectors that we do — and that puts us in a great spot to capitalize on our strengths moving forward.
We are in prime position to continue this growth in 2021.
We see cranes going up. We hear from even more business leaders looking to expand here.
Although many are hurting, our future is bright. That’s a message we continue to share.
We’re growing and Jacksonville is moving ahead.
Daniel Davis is president and CEO of the JAX Chamber.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Column: Jobs are growing in Jacksonville even in the pandemic